Running 101: My Pain is Your Gain!

Hey to all the newbie runners or wanna be runners or returning runners! A couple of my readers have commented here, in email or on other blogs that you want to get started or are getting back at it. 

When I had my disaster of a run at Westhaven, Dan Perkins, Triathalon & Ironman legend, imparted some great wisdom, he said “Consider it your best training run yet”.  That put such great spin on it for me.  I’m fairly competitive and consider each race as an opportunity to improve upon the last one, so to know that this one was going to be by far the poorest I had ever done even in training was tough on the ego.  But when you look at it from a training perspective, it makes it a bit easier to swallow. Still an expense training run considering I paid to participate and all others are free, but worth it nonetheless.

So to follow the tradition of posting some lessons learned from the Westhaven 5K, I thought I would continue with a series called Running 101: My Pain is Your Gain! We all learn from each other, but why not take advantage of my immediate training lessons to date, not just from personal experience, but also from my Team in Training experience.  You can read and learn more about my Team in Training Half Marathon Run in San Fran HERE.

So here are some lessons from my NEW PERSONAL RECORD (PR) 4 Mile run this past Saturday with TNT. It was a group run and I applied most of my lessons from Westhaven for this run: had the watch set at new 4:1 intervals, had the iPod, brought some water, ate and drank better the day before.  What I still did poorly was sleep. I never sleep before a run. It just doesn’t happen. Gonna have to invest in some drugs or something. On to the new lessons…

1.  LOVE the rain.  It was a wonder misty light rain that kept us cool.  I was apprehensive about running in it, but it was ideal perfect weather.  Just always remember to check the weather before you go out and bring a hat. Your body will enjoy the coolness it brings, but you don’t need to be preoccupied with wiping it off your face.

2. Water is ideally absorbed at 40 degrees. This is something I learned in my TNT clinic. So when bringing along water make sure it is properly chilled. Put some skinny ice cubes in it (they sell skinny ice cube trays at the Dollar Store). TNT provide water at every mile, so I didn’t have to worry about that one.

3.  Not everyone can drink Gatorade.  Some folks can not tolerate sugary drinks, they can make you sick. I am one of those people.  At Mile 2 they had a Gatorade stop instead of water. It tasted like glucose to me, not that I’ve ever drank glucose, but I can only imagine.  I started feeling it shortly after I drank it, but I held it down for a while. At Mile 3, they had another water stop.  It was about a quarter into the last mile I politely moved over in the grass and threw up everything bright orange. As all good runners do I said, “Excuse me.” and then kept running.  I’ve also since heard that you can not mix water and other drinks. So the real lesson here is experiment with hydration before racing, know what you can and can not drink and how it will sit with you on race day.

4.  Run your own race.  I started the run with my friend Kim. She’s an experienced runner and has already competed a half marathon before. She runs consistenly. I run intervals per because it helped my patella tracking issue and it improved my time.  When we began running she started telling me a story that was really intense. Being the friend that I am I didn’t want to stop her and take my interval because she was so in to it and I felt like she just needed me to listen. So I kept running.  I ran the first mile through 9 minutes + minutes, almost all of it.  I did it and at her pace, it was ok, but I could really feel it. It certainly had an impact on the rest of my run. I was off and winded.  When you are starting out especially, you have to run your own race.  Keep your pace and dont try to keep up with anyone else out of love or friendship or good gossip.  It will only hurt you in the long run.  Stay on your course and you will be better for it. 

Remember, I just got off the couch in March! Never ran before and I hated it. If I can do it, you can do it!

So, who is out there that is running or training or just wanting to get started?  Is there anything you can share with us so we can learn from your experience? 


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